Deaf Havana - Fools and Worthless Liars Album Review
Look I never told anyone before but you guys seem quite nice, so I feel comfortable enough to let this thing go. I've got a fear of heights. Acrophobia to you. When I went up the Empire State building and everyone else was loving it on the observation deck? Petrified. Scott Monument in Edinburgh? Had to stop half way up. Blackpool tower? Give me a break. Brother.
I do however believe that more than anything, there are always people in a much worse state than you are. You can for example throw a dart almost anywhere into the lyric sheet of Deaf Havana's second album and find misery, guilt, anger and paranoia in extremis. To underline this feeling of unrelenting angst, the song titles, such as the PATD-esque "Things Change, Friends Leave and Life Doesn't Stop for Anybody" and the more to the point "I'm a Bore, Mostly" reinforce the notion that the only Christmas present worth getting for DH's singer James Veck-Gilodi was a season ticket to the nearest therapist's couch.
And yet interviewed last year before the Slam Dunk North Festival in Leeds, Gilodi seemed as relaxed and happy as any artist on the verge of the release of a new record, peppering the conversation with an unlikely adjective to describe the band's music: fun. Certainly the East Anglian outfit have taken a step or two closer to the mainstream since their d'but Meet Me Halfway was released in 2009. By changing direction from their original post-hardcore sound they took a chance on being inevitably condemned as sell-outs, but Fools And Worthless Liars seems not only closer to their natural disposition, but channels their obviously massive energy into something more positive than the words to their songs might suggest.
When DH manage to harness that newly discovered brio with a clutch of spiralling chords and the whole thing takes off, it's an adrenalin rush which can only be related to hearing first hearing Fall Out Boy way back when, an ecstatic jolt of punch the sky exhilaration. It happens more than once as well, as Youth In Retrospect soars at a reckless speed skate tempo, welding a huge chorus to refreshingly unpretentious punk-pop dynamics, whilst the previously mentioned I'm A Bore, Mostly riffs like a monster, also stretching the edges of Gilodi's voice, bringing through a welcome rougher edge.
If there's a criticism it's that there's nothing here you haven't heard before and the four piece hold a tightly disciplined axis which puts them at one end in the space occupied by You Me At 6 (Leeches, The World of Nothing, Nelson's Country) and less occasionally Bring Me To the Horizon (Anemophobia) respectively. This may sound like hating and it's true that neither of those outfits will be running out of gas money for their SUV's any time soon, so given that DH's regular guitar and bass Chris Pennells and Lee Wilson didn't get to perform on Fools and Worthless Liars due to "Work commitments" that's probably all part of the plan.
Unlikely as it is on the face of it, Deaf Havana seem to have stumbled across the way to give misery a good time and rock hard in the process. As a result of cracking this age old code, it seems by extension that they're also about to test the old adage that money can't buy you happiness - in a big way.